'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrity

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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Forest_Dump on May 18th, 2017, 12:57 pm 

Paul Anthony wrote:The cultural war you describe (and hope for?) isn't between whites and everyone else. It is a battle between Progressives and more traditional thinking people. Most Hispanics are Catholic and family-oriented. In order to recruit people who don't agree with Progressive support of LGBTQ, the battle has to be presented as a racial one. It isn't. Some blacks are conservative, some whites are liberal. Some blacks are wealthy, some whites are poor. If you can't see that we are not defined by the color of our skin, you are part of the problem.


I can't see it as any kind of dichotomy between "traditionals" vs. "progressives" and that includes divisions between "conservatives" vs. "liberals" either. Where I am there are many groups who are definitely "traditional" and conservative, from traditional natives to Mennonites. But none who support Trump. But there is definitely a growing division in the US and I think it is among those who see very very different realities. I have to admit that I simply cannot understand how and why the Trump supporters see the world anymore. Its even gone beyond what I/we used to see as cult behaviour.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on May 18th, 2017, 1:06 pm 

Forest_Dump » Thu May 18, 2017 9:57 am wrote:I can't see it as any kind of dichotomy between "traditionals" vs. "progressives" and that includes divisions between "conservatives" vs. "liberals" either. Where I am there are many groups who are definitely "traditional" and conservative, from traditional natives to Mennonites. But none who support Trump. But there is definitely a growing division in the US and I think it is among those who see very very different realities. I have to admit that I simply cannot understand how and why the Trump supporters see the world anymore. Its even gone beyond what I/we used to see as cult behaviour.


Could you expand on that? Some specifics to justify the label, "cult behavior" would be nice.

But my post was in response to Mossling's claim that there will be a war between whites and non-whites, as if people will line up on different sides based solely on their skin color.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Forest_Dump on May 18th, 2017, 4:35 pm 

Paul Anthony wrote:But my post was in response to Mossling's claim that there will be a war between whites and non-whites, as if people will line up on different sides based solely on their skin color.


And the last shall be first...

I certainly don't see it that way. Of course I think the support for Trump, while stronger than I think anyone initially suspected, is still also much less than "Trumpeted" and is declining. Most "whites" (whoever or whatever they are) certainly do not support the racial politics behind some of Trump's supporters. I don't see any kind of violent war even if there is an increase in some forms of domestic terrorism (which I would predict) and certainly not over race or gender orientation. Those are just wedge issues being exploited by the fringe or fringes.

Paul Anthony wrote:Could you expand on that? Some specifics to justify the label, "cult behavior" would be nice.


I don't think there is much question that the alt-right Trump supporters and Trump himself have an entirely different perspective than the "main stream" and are forming their interpretations of reality in an entirely different way. This whole thing about "fake news", " alternative facts", etc. has really got some people picking and choosing what they want to believe and accept. To me, the best and most diplomatic way to arrive at an analogy is by way of some of the descriptions people have given about how they saw things differently when they were in cults. Some documentaries on various "conspiracy theorists" may also apply. There are other potential analogues, of course, but I will hold off on that because I think it is too politically inflamatory.

I will say that initially I did get quite a bit of amusement over Trump's "missteps". But the joke is carrying on far too long and I know there will be lasting consequences and by now I have no doubt there will be lives lost (will Isreal think twice before giving the US intelligence in order to protect their own assets? Will that make a difference in preventing the next 9/11?). And I can't imagine what will happen when Trump does actually have to give up power.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on May 18th, 2017, 8:33 pm 

Paul, it seems that a "white world" can easily include Catholicism. And for those Catholics of less white races, well, black Jews were and are 'accepted' in Israel. The core of this "white world" vision, however, seems to be represented by Trump's administration - predominantly white, wealthy, Christian-leaning, with links to racist ideology. The Russians - the Russ - red Vikings - are considerably receptive to a "white world" vision as far as I can see, and there's nothing like nationalism mixed with racial identity to unify a majority behind a strongman leader - whether in America or Russia.

Again, such a Truth would be too controversial for a modern developed democracy like the US, and so it would need to be covered up - via a created 'information war', for example; "fake news", "broad evil liberal msm agendas", and so on - a catastrophic breakdown in general information integrity throughout the nation so that no communication, no matter how well-reputed the messenger, can be trusted. Unfortunately, an administration with ties to such a "white world vision" support base would not be able to cover up material - economic - connections, and those are the smoke signals currently being investigated by the FBI with regards to the Trump administration's links to conservative homophobic anti-journalist non-christian-religion-persecuting Russia.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on May 19th, 2017, 1:08 pm 

Mossling » Thu May 18, 2017 5:33 pm wrote: ... the Trump administration's links to conservative homophobic anti-journalist non-christian-religion-persecuting Russia.


And yet, you seem to have had no problem with the likelihood that Obama's administration was friendly with conservative homophobic anti-journalist non-Muslim-religion-persecuting countries like Saudi Arabia.

Why do you make this distinction? Is it because Saudis aren't white, or because they aren't Christian?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on May 20th, 2017, 1:49 am 

Paul Anthony » May 20th, 2017, 2:08 am wrote: the likelihood that Obama's administration was friendly with conservative homophobic anti-journalist non-Muslim-religion-persecuting countries like Saudi Arabia.

Why do you make this distinction? Is it because Saudis aren't white, or because they aren't Christian?

Obama's administration had relationships with the Saudis comparable to the Trump administration's with Russia? I think we are dealing with a completely different kettle of fish here, my friend. There is friendly - as in greasing the wheels for foreign policy - and then there is obvious ideological and self-interested business links.

Obama is not a muslim, and he is not even the same race as the Saudis, before we even get into the special interests.

There is a very possible truth existing that Trump was (or still is) on Putin's payroll (see recent news), and that Trump wants to reduce American liberties to those of Russia's - hence Trump reserving his hatred for liberty-lovers and his fine words for the likes of Putin. Of course the majority of Americans would not stand for having a President with such intentions, and so something's apparently got to give for Trump to continue with that agenda (if indeed it is true) - the integrity of information has been his choice of targets, and thus his support for infowars, and all the false news stuff could easily be an attempt to create a smoke screen to hide his real intentions. And why he would do such a thing could yet still be hidden - blackmail, big money, white nationalism, who knows. Roger Stone running to Alex Jones, and Bannon's links to Richard Spencer seem to point in a certain direction, however... ...a "white world" - a racial home to call their very own, with non-white 'followers' perhaps doing the menial jobs.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on May 20th, 2017, 3:02 pm 

Mossling » Fri May 19, 2017 10:49 pm wrote:
There is a very possible truth existing that Trump was (or still is) on Putin's payroll (see recent news), and that Trump wants to reduce American liberties to those of Russia's - hence Trump reserving his hatred for liberty-lovers and his fine words for the likes of Putin. Of course the majority of Americans would not stand for having a President with such intentions, and so something's apparently got to give for Trump to continue with that agenda (if indeed it is true) - the integrity of information has been his choice of targets, and thus his support for infowars, and all the false news stuff could easily be an attempt to create a smoke screen to hide his real intentions. And why he would do such a thing could yet still be hidden - blackmail, big money, white nationalism, who knows. Roger Stone running to Alex Jones, and Bannon's links to Richard Spencer seem to point in a certain direction, however... ...a "white world" - a racial home to call their very own, with non-white 'followers' perhaps doing the menial jobs.


There is a very possible truth that all this talk about a Putin-Trump conspiracy could easily be an attempt to create a smoke screen to get Trump out of office and replaced by someone the establishment can control.

See how easy it is to imagine conspiracies?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Forest_Dump on May 20th, 2017, 6:52 pm 

There is also a possibility (!) that Trump gace some pretty sensitive intelligence data from Israel to Russia that he shouldn't have. Thats going to cost someone a lot more than we will ever know. Now, truth be told, I do not believe he did it on purpose to blow US Israeli intelligence operations nor do I believe he was or is under Russian pay, etc. He think he did it simply because he is an incompetent and blow-hard who was bragging and possibly subtly manipulated by the Russians who may even have been briefed or taught how to manipulate Trump into shooting his mouth off. I think you guys are giving him way too much credit. I think Trump is just in way over his head and is being manipulated left right and center without even he being smart enough to realize it, let alone admit it.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on May 20th, 2017, 7:55 pm 

Forest_Dump » Sat May 20, 2017 3:52 pm wrote:There is also a possibility (!) that Trump gace some pretty sensitive intelligence data from Israel to Russia that he shouldn't have. Thats going to cost someone a lot more than we will ever know. Now, truth be told, I do not believe he did it on purpose to blow US Israeli intelligence operations nor do I believe he was or is under Russian pay, etc. He think he did it simply because he is an incompetent and blow-hard who was bragging and possibly subtly manipulated by the Russians who may even have been briefed or taught how to manipulate Trump into shooting his mouth off. I think you guys are giving him way too much credit. I think Trump is just in way over his head and is being manipulated left right and center without even he being smart enough to realize it, let alone admit it.


Amid all the drama, I try to stick with what we know and not be sidetracked by the multitude of innuendo floating around. We do not know exactly what Trump shared with the Russians. From the sources that have leaked...something...we hear that he didn't give away the sources. Of course, we don't even know if that's true.

I am concerned more with the leaks themselves. Such things don't happen unless someone is trying to bring down the administration. Because of the nefarious motivation evident behind the leaks, the information itself seems suspect to me.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on May 21st, 2017, 1:50 am 

Paul Anthony » May 21st, 2017, 8:55 am wrote:Amid all the drama, I try to stick with what we know

It seems to me that what we do know already is the drama:

First, Trump associates Russia links:

Sessions, President Trump’s Attorney General, had two conversations with Ambassador Kislyak during the 2016 presidential election.
Tillerson, President Trump’s Secretary of State, worked on energy projects in Russia for two decades during his career at Exxon. He has publicly described his “very close relationship” with President Putin and was awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship in 2013, the highest state honor possible for a foreigner.
Kushner met with Ambassador Kislyak during the Presidential transition. The White House later acknowledged that following that meeting, Ambassador Kislyak requested a second meeting, which Kushner had a deputy attend. However, at Kislyak's request, Kushner did later meet with Sergey Gorkov, the head of Russia's state-owned development bank, who has close ties to President Putin. The U.S. placed this bank on its sanctions list following Russia's annexation of Crimea. The Senate Intelligence Committee plans to question Kushner about his meetings with Russian officials.
Trump, Jr., President Trump’s son, met with Fabien Baussart, a leader of a Syrian opposition group backed by the Russian government, and others about how the U.S. could work with Russia on the Syrian conflict weeks before Donald Trump was elected President. He has also been quoted saying that his father’s businesses “see a lot of money pouring in from Russia”, and that he had visited Russia on business over a half-dozen times.
Manafort, who has business connections to Russia and Ukraine, was hired as Trump’s campaign manager in March 2016. He then resigned in August of the same year, after reports surfaced that suggested he had received $12.7 million from Victor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Russia former president. It was recently revealed by AP that Manafort proposed in a strategy plan from as early as June 2005 that he would work to influence politics, business deals, and media inside the U.S. and Europe to benefit Putin. This plan was pitched to Oleg Deripaska, a "Russian aluminum magnate" with close ties to Putin. Manafort eventually signed a $10 million contract with Deripaska in early 2006. The Trump Administration and Manafort have both said that Manafort never worked for Russian interests.
Carter Page, hired as a foreign policy advisor to Trump’s 2016 campaign, was known to have deep ties to Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas company. In July 2016, a month after Russia's DNC meddling was reveled in the press, Page traveled to Moscow to make a speech. The Trump campaign approved this trip, saying he would not be traveling as an official representative of the campaign. In the speech he delivered in Moscow, he criticized American foreign policy as being hypocritical – remarks which ultimately led to his resignation from Trump’s campaign. Before joining the campaign, he was a businessman “of no particular renown” working in the Moscow branch of Merrill Lynch before creating his own consulting agency.
Carter Page met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Republican National Convention in 2016. Buzzfeed recently reported that Page had met with a Russian intelligence agent named Victor Podobnyy in 2013, who was reportedly trying to recruit Page. Podobnyy was later charged by the U.S. for acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.
Roger Stone: Stone, a former advisor to Trump, had back channel conversations with Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, which is the organization that published the DNC leaks and Podesta emails during the 2016 elections. He also had exchanges with Guccifer 2.0 -- a hacker believed to be linked to Russia involved in the 2016 hacking of Democratic National Committee emails -- in August 2016. Also in August, he tweeted "it will soon [be] Podesta's time in the barrell." About two months later, Wikileaks began posting John Podesta's emails.
Felix Sater, formerly a senior advisor to the Trump Organization, is a Russian-born Bayrock associate with extensive involvement in organized crime.
Alex Shnaider, born in Russia, co-financed a real estate project with Trump. Shnaider’s father-in-law, Boris J. Birshtein, was a close business associate of Sergei Mikhaylov, the head of one of the largest branches of the Russian mob.
JD Gordon, a national security advisor for the Trump campaign met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July, who he told he would like to improve US - Russia relations. He advocated for a change to the GOP national platform to make their policies more pro-Russian and less pro-Ukraine, a change which Gordon said was directly supported by then-candidate Donald Trump.
Wilbur Ross: Ross, President Trump’s Secretary of Commerce, was the top shareholder in the Bank of Cyprus, an institution with deep Russian ties and investors who made fortunes under Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to McClatchy, the banking system in Cyprus, because of its dependence on Russian investors, is money-laundering concern for the US State Department. Ross served as the vice chairman of the board of directors for the Bank of Cyprus. The second largest investor in the Bank of Cyprus was Viktor Vekselberg, who once served on the Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft, which is under partial sanction by the US Treasury Department. Vekselberg is known to have a close relationship with Vladimir Putin. In February, six senators sent a letter to Ross inquiring about his relationship to Vekselberg. The senators also inquired about Ross’s relationship with Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, who is also linked to the Bank of Cyprus, was a former KGB agent, and is believed to be a Putin associate.
Erik Prince: Prince, who had no formal role with the Trump campaign or transition team, had a secret meeting with a Russian close to President Putin, arranged by the United Arab Emirates, the Washington Post recently reported. The meeting reportedly took place around January 11, 2017 on the Seychelles islands, and was allegedly part of an effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Russia and then President-elect Trump. The UAE agreed to facilitate the meeting in order to explore Russia's willingness to curtail its relationship with Iran. Prince was a supporter of Trump, and has ties to Steve Bannon and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is his sister. He was also seen in Trump transition offices in December.
Flynn was warned in 2014, when he was retiring from the military, not to accept payments from foreign governments without advance approval from the Pentagon.

That's just the background we know about Trump's teams and Russia, so here is a rough timeline of the more dramatic events:

Steve Bannon provided a platform for Richard Spencer the white nationalist.
KKK and other white nationalists express support and hopefulness regarding a Trump administration.
Russian state-driven hackers interfere with the 2016 US presidential election.
Trump wins electoral college votes and becomes POTUS.
Obama warns Trump about Flynn in person.
Trump's admin states that it looks forward to "a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia."
Trump picks Flynn as NSA, knowing that Flynn had attended a lavish dinner in Moscow in 2015 at which he sat next to President Vladimir Putin, he had received a speaking fee from a Russian television network that U.S. officials consider a propaganda outlet.
Flynn's son has spread lies on twitter and was cut out of the Trump transition picture.
Sanctions blocking deal with Rex Tillerson's Exxon and Russian oil are put in place.
Flynn contacts Russian ambassador and discusses lifting those sanctions.
Putin is indifferent about the sanctions and Trump praises Putin.
Trump publicly denies that he has ties with Russia.
The buzzfeed 'Russian dossier' linking Trump to lots of Russian bad stuff leaked and very little is proven untrue.
During confirmation hearings, Jess Sessions claims that he “did not have communications with the Russians” when prompted by Senator Al Franken.
Sean Spencer denies Flynn discussed the Russian sanctions with Kislyak.
Pence publicly denies Flynn discussed the Russian sanctions with Kislyak.
FBI interviews Flynn about Kislyak and Flynn denies discussing sanctions.
Spicer again says that he has asked Flynn about the sanctions discussions with Kislyak and that it is true Flynn didn't speak about that with him.
Sally Yates warns the WH that Flynn had indeed discussed sanctions with Kislyak.
Sally Yates is fired by Trump.
Trump invites Comey to dinner and asks him for his political loyalty.
Fox news confronts Trump with the fact that Putin "is a killer", and Trump puts America on the same moral level as Russia's administration.
Flynn flatly denies to Washington Post discussing sanctions with Kislyak.
Flynn spokesperson retracts his denial of discussing sanctions and more than 2 weeks after Sally Yates informed WH of Flynn's crime, Pence says it's the first he's heard of it.
Trump says he is not aware of the situation when asked about Flynn's admittance.
Flynn resigns over Trump intending to fire him over misleading Pence.
Trump invites Comey to dinner and asks him to drop the investigation into Flynn as part of the invesitgation into the Trump admin's links with Russia.
Reports of Sessions' meetings with Kislyak surface, so he recuses himself from any investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump calls the Russia investigation premises nonsense and fake news.
House Russia hearings are cancelled indefinitely.
Flynn asks for immunity in exchange for testifying to the House and Senate intelligence committees investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.
Nunes steps aside from the Russia investigation – because he himself is under investigation. The House Ethics Committee, in a separate announcement, said it was looking into allegations that Nunes had improperly disclosed classified material, the same material involved in his nighttime White House meeting.
After Syria missile strike, Putin asked Trump to meet with Russian officials.
Trump tweets 'Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton'.
Comey defends his decision to alert Congress just days before the presidential election that he would further investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails. "It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election,” he said.
Trump says ‘Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax’.
Trump fires Comey and the White House releases memos from deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein and Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions. Rosenstein ties his recommendation to dismiss Comey to his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, but then Trump goes on TV to say that actually it was his own idea, after Rosenstein threatens to resign over Trump trying to use him as a scapegoat.
In his dismissal letter, Trump includes this passage: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau.”
White House says the rank-and-file of the FBI had lost confidence in Comey.
Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the White House and leaks classified information to them (from a source that had not authorized the U.S. to share it with the Russians), and calls Comey "a nut job" and fired him over the pressure on the Russia probe.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, testifying at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, contradicts the White House, saying that the rank-and-file of the FBI had not lost confidence in Comey.
Trump threatens Comey with secret tape recordings.

There are plenty more details also, but, really, are you denying that there are no smoke signals worthy of investigation? And if there are flames behind that smoke, then would Trump not be VERY interested in covering them up, perhaps?

Trump is apparently selling out American liberties in order to forge deep connections with Russia - whether that is purely business-driven, or there is a deeper "white world" agenda, remains to be discovered. Just the moral and political alignment with Russia should be enough to sound alarm bells for true American patriots, it seems, but who knows - gun toting, macho, homophobic, pseudo-Christian, Russian-lady-lovin, Americans are an already established stereotype, and such a 'lifestyle' could gain more popularity I guess.... given time... and so thus any darker Truths about the Russian connections are being sabotaged through fake news, obstruction of justice attempts, and firings?

I would be particularly interested, Paul, to know what sympathies you have, as a Trump supporter, towards the Russians, for example?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on May 21st, 2017, 12:52 pm 

Mossling » Sat May 20, 2017 10:50 pm wrote:I would be particularly interested, Paul, to know what sympathies you have, as a Trump supporter, towards the Russians, for example?


This seems to be an appropriate time to remind you that I voted for Gary Johnson. I did not support Trump during the election, but he is the President now. I did not vote for Obama, either, but while he was President I gave his actions the benefit of the doubt.

You have listed every meeting every one of Trump's supporters ever had with anyone Russian. Can you provide as detailed a list of every Democrat who ever met with the Russians? Or does that not concern you?

Do you know how many times members of the last administration had friendly meetings with the Saudis?

Do you remember 9/11? The Russians weren't behind it. When was the last time Russia invaded the US?

Why are you so obsessed with Russia?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Ben Cain on May 21st, 2017, 1:05 pm 

I haven’t read all the pages of this discussion, but I’d like to address the opening post on the post-truth state of affairs in politics and pop culture. In my view, the majority in large groups has always been post-truth in that it’s fallen for myths that enable the masses to cooperate without killing each other. As Harari points out in Sapiens, to live together in our huge numbers, we have to overlook our natural differences and identify with some collective. That collective is typically fictional, and so daily civilized life is a mass daydream or hallucination, along the lines of the matrix. For example, Americans think of themselves as united by some “founding” myth or “dream” of their shared ideals. The goodness or rightness of those ideals is entirely fictional, a product of wishing and the imagination. So the fact that pop culture in modern democracies runs on nonsense isn’t surprising.

Still, after the Scientific Revolution, the masses are supposed to defer to experts who are concerned with discovering or otherwise working with the facts. But from our postmodern (or hypermodern) vantage point, we can see that that supposition, too, is mythical. Scientists are more interested in power than truth, the power to control natural processes with technology derived from models that simplify the apparent facts. Those facts should be understood pragmatically, since our limited conceptions never get at the essence of what’s there in front of us. To know anything as it really is, noumenally speaking, as Kant would say, you have to know everything, the total cause, which doesn’t seem possible for mere ape-like creatures. That is, you have to understand each thing in its total context and thus your conception can’t simplify, idealize, or ignore that which is irrelevant to your interests.

Truth, by contrast, is an anthropocentric relation of correspondence or agreement between facts and our representations. So truth is a casualty of the death of God. We must learn to think pragmatically and instrumentally, more like the scientists who frown on philosophical speculations or like the Machiavellian politicians and psychopathic plutocrats who revel in agnotology, spin, and other forms of mass manipulation. Again, the goal is empowerment, given certain tentative models or hypotheses that prove useful.

What’s happened in hypermodernity, then, is that the masses have become as incredulous to our myths and metanarratives as the typically more cynical power elites. We’re all learning to give up on the daydreams that hold society together, to laugh at the fictions and ideals that are more and more at odds with the reality we live with but still barely comprehend. For example, Americans are learning to see that they no longer lead the free world, because their democracy is a sham. Instead of the world being divided by the noble, godly forces of Freedom, led by the US and its allies, we have only Western versus Eastern plutocracies and kleptocracies. You have the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian oligarchs and oligopolies, and the American and European power centers, each of which upholds its propaganda, but none of which is particularly convincing anymore, thanks to the postmodern malaise.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Braininvat on May 21st, 2017, 2:59 pm 

A provocative and deeply pessimistic assessment of human aspirations for political progress. I hope that those of us who work for a more egalitarian society and free-thinking citizenry don't all succumb to "postmodern malaise."

I'm curious, do you believe the rightness of the rule of law is entirely fictitious?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Ben Cain on May 21st, 2017, 3:46 pm 

Braininvat,
I would say my take there on post-truth is dark but not pessimistic. There's a light side to my view as well (which I lay out on my blog; see, for example, the link below if you're interested). I take a cyclical, Spenglerian view of history, so we have dark ages and cultural rebirths. Postmodern apathy and ennui are signs of decadence, of our "civilizational" phase wherein we've lost touch with our zeitgeist, with the once-ruling ideas and ideals we can no longer live or die for, because we're too old and have seen too much for that young person's game, as it were. An optimist can long for a post-American culture. As Harari says in Homo Deus, advances in technology will likely force the hands of artists and philosophers to dream up a new worldview.

I would say the rightness of the rule of law is fictitious, in that moral rightness is entirely mental, phenomenal, and subjective. However, I take fictions seriously, for the Nietzschean reason that aesthetics should replace epistemology, given all that stuff about postmodernity. If truth is old-hat, because the world doesn't agree with our models, the latter being tools that enable us to control nature and navigate dominance hierarchies, aesthetic standards for good and bad fictions become all-important. Some fictions are better than others in that they mean more to the reader or the viewer; they resonate more with the emotions, and inspire a noble way of life, one that reckons with our existential predicament instead of enabling us to retreat to delusion and "bad faith."

So, for example, there's the law against murder, which is supposed to apply equally to everyone in the society. If that law is right, there mustn't be a superior myth waiting in the wings, according to which the existence of an ubermensch--who can kill indiscriminately--elevates the rabble. That is, we must compare myths on aesthetic grounds: there's liberal secular humanism, according to which everyone deserves an equal right to life, and then there's the conservative's inegalitarian myth that says most people are sheeple, and the power elites shouldn't be bound by social conventions, because they're godlike and without them, life wouldn't be worth living for anyone, since then we wouldn't have even approximations of God to worship.

Now, I'm not saying I subscribe to the whole Nietzschean view that celebrates the ubermensch. But I think the liberal myths in favour of the egalitarian nature of the law are currently uninspiring, so it's an open question whether we should interpret the rule of law as a supreme good. (Much will hinge on whether Trump turns out to have committed gross offenses, and whether he'll be impeached or otherwise punished for them.) If a superior myth comes along that drives us to regard certain social classes as superior to others (as in Hinduism, but more in line with uncompromising naturalism), that will decide the issue for me. What won't come close to deciding it is rational argument, because of the naturalistic fallacy.

http://rantswithintheundeadgod.blogspot.ca/2014/05/dark-mysticism-tragic-heroism-and-fear.html
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on May 22nd, 2017, 1:19 am 

Ben, Socrates was interested in Truth, and so through his elenchus and the inevitable relativistic fallacies it generated, he delivered his subjects to the Truth of the flaws of relativism.

This does not mean that human societies, like any other animal societies, do not form for logical reasons. There are clear economic reasons why cooperatives form.

And Plato posited that laws were to remind people - not rule them.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on May 22nd, 2017, 2:15 am 

Paul Anthony » May 22nd, 2017, 1:52 am wrote:
Mossling » Sat May 20, 2017 10:50 pm wrote:I would be particularly interested, Paul, to know what sympathies you have, as a Trump supporter, towards the Russians, for example?


This seems to be an appropriate time to remind you that I voted for Gary Johnson. I did not support Trump during the election, but he is the President now. I did not vote for Obama, either, but while he was President I gave his actions the benefit of the doubt.

You want to dodge the question then, OK. That's an answer in itself of course ;P

You have listed every meeting every one of Trump's supporters ever had with anyone Russian. Can you provide as detailed a list of every Democrat who ever met with the Russians? Or does that not concern you?

And then I listed the dramatic recent events connected with Russia - showing you that the drama is rooted in real known events.


Why are you so obsessed with Russia?

Not obsessed, just following this gripping non-fiction story involving an assault on the truth as it unfolds. I find it incredibly strange how you so easily dismiss Flynn and Sessions concealing their Russian dealings while under oath, and Trump firing Yates and Comey in Russian probe-related incidents.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Ben Cain on May 22nd, 2017, 10:35 am 

Mossling,
I’m familiar with the fallacies of relativism. Then again, the wrongness of fallacies is a pragmatic matter pertaining to the unreliability of certain statements, so the appeal to logic is something of a bait-and-switch operation. The realist says relativism is fallacious, since it’s performatively self-contradictory (it presupposes the non-relative, objective truth of some statement, such as that truth is relative), but all it means to say that relativism is inconsistent and that inconsistency is bad, is that relativism is unreliable, that there’s some chance it will lead us astray. That bit of pragmatism returns us to the original functions of reason, which were that reason enabled us to survive in a harsh environment and to navigate society in a Machiavellian manner. Reason didn’t evolve for us to discover the truth. It’s just as possible that delusions (e.g. anthropocentrism, theism, etc.) are useful for our survival and our happiness.

In any case, I don’t commit the fallacies, because I don’t presuppose objective truth in the sense of correspondence. I certainly don’t say any statement is as good as any other, because I agree there’s an important difference between what’s called truth and falsehood. It’s just that I don’t think we understand that difference well by talking about semantic correspondence or coherence.

The best account of objective truth begins with pragmatism and the appeal to power. I’d say naturalism is objectively true because it’s the best, simplest explanation of experience, and experience is a matter of force and power. When we observe something, we experience our senses being bombarded by data we don’t ask for. That’s an act of the world overpowering us. When we understand what’s happening, with our models and experiments and deductions, we take the power back by applying our knowledge to build our artificial worlds that provide us with a buffer, so that we can experience more and more of what we ask for. We build worlds that have us at their center, after we realize that the natural wilderness is indifferent to us.

There’s no need here to presuppose that our symbols agree with facts. Pragmatism and irrational lusts for power and creative achievement lie at the bottom of our cognition. The difference between objective and subjective truth is that the former gives you power over other things, whereas subjective truth empowers only yourself, as the self-expression comforts you.

Is what we call power noumenally real? No, the Nietzschean talk of power is likewise a model, a necessarily simplified conception that should be evaluated in pragmatic and aesthetic terms. What are real are the starting points of empirical data and the desire to understand them. That desire isn’t entirely rational and thus neither should be epistemic evaluation. Ultimately, there’s the existential mystery of cosmicism that underlies the difference between true and false statements. When we speak truly, we gain a limited advantage over the world that nonetheless is horrific in its masterful abuse of all living creatures.

On my blog I’ve written a couple of articles that further explore these issues of truth, if you’re interested.

http://rantswithintheundeadgod.blogspot.ca/2017/03/life-as-dream-secular-myth-of-objective.html

http://rantswithintheundeadgod.blogspot.ca/2016/08/how-to-fathom-nature-of-truth.html
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on May 22nd, 2017, 12:14 pm 

Mossling » Sun May 21, 2017 11:15 pm wrote:

Not obsessed, just following this gripping non-fiction story involving an assault on the truth as it unfolds. I find it incredibly strange how you so easily dismiss Flynn and Sessions concealing their Russian dealings while under oath, and Trump firing Yates and Comey in Russian probe-related incidents.


Except it's not non-fiction.

I'm able to remember what transpired more than just a few days ago. For instance, I remember during the 2012 election Obama ridiculed Romney for claiming Russia was our enemy. I also remember the "hot mic" incident during that same campaign when Obama thought the mic was off and told Putin he would be able to negotiate more freely after the election.

In the eyes of the Democratic Party, the Russians weren't our enemy until Hillary lost the election. Russia was just one of the excuses given for her failure (another was Comey, who the Democrats now support after Trump fired him).

But the Russia thing proved to be more valuable as a means to discredit the Trump administration, so the saga grows. Just as Comey was bad until Trump said he was bad. Now he's a hero.

Political theater is fiction. Enjoy the show, but don't take it seriously.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Braininvat on May 22nd, 2017, 12:20 pm 

I would say the rightness of the rule of law is fictitious, in that moral rightness is entirely mental, phenomenal, and subjective.
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Ben, there are many points raised in your latest posts that we have had hundreds of threads on here. My time is limited, so for now I'll just respond to the above....

I'm not sure that "rightness" has to imply a purely subjective moral quality. It could as well mean (as when I use it) a pragmatic set of rules that foster cooperation, personal freedom and autonomy, the pursuit of happiness, and interpersonal peace. Every bit of evidence in all the cognitive and social sciences points toward the value of such rules in the optimal function of social groups for self-realization. IOW, there are objective and measurable outcomes of having a rule of law (versus, say, an "honor society") that point towards a pragmatic success that doesn't have to mess around with theological concepts of "moral." And these outcomes do not strike me as fictitious. Certain group behaviors, when there is rule of law, improve life in ways that all humans can "intersubjectively" agree upon. And centuries of experience seem to show that a living body of law (versus rigid Napoleonic Code sorts of laws) can evolve towards better lives for greater numbers of people. For me, this doesn't rest on fictions, but on how we humans are hardwired.

I think many of don't realize, because we are so fortunate to live in modern democracies with the rule of law, how very much worse other systems focused on personal power and domination are for humans, in ways that are objectively measurable. And I think this cultural forgetfulness of darker times is precisely how chest-pounding feces-hurling apes like Trump can get elected. One of the problems with having a well-built Constitution is that we can amnesically slip into a state of taking it for granted and from there, to forgetting the document entirely.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on May 22nd, 2017, 12:48 pm 

Braininvat » Mon May 22, 2017 9:20 am wrote:

I think many of don't realize, because we are so fortunate to live in modern democracies with the rule of law, how very much worse other systems focused on personal power and domination are for humans, in ways that are objectively measurable. And I think this cultural forgetfulness of darker times is precisely how chest-pounding feces-hurling apes like Trump can get elected. One of the problems with having a well-built Constitution is that we can amnesically slip into a state of taking it for granted and from there, to forgetting the document entirely.



I agree with your words, and yet I suspect we don't really agree at all.

The creators of the Constitution saw the need of such a document to prevent laws changing at the whims of a monarch or of the next individual or group who might seize power. But the progressive concept of the Constitution as a 'living document" that can and should change defeats its purpose. If laws are subject to the whims of the majority, they are no more protective of society than if they could be changed by the whims of a ruler. Conservatives want to preserve the document while progressives prefer "forgetting the document entirely". (As for Trump, he is a man with no ideology - neither conservative nor progressive. One might rightly wonder if he has even read the document).
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Ben Cain on May 22nd, 2017, 1:25 pm 

Braininvat,
I think we’re talking past each other. When I say right and wrong are fictitious, you think that means right and wrong can have no systematic impact on the real world. But look at the great works of literature that have clearly had such an impact. Look at religious myths which resonate because they appeal to how we’re hardwired.

No, by saying that the goodness or badness of values is fictitious, what I mean is just that those properties don’t exist outside of our thoughts and feelings; in particular, the rest of the physical world doesn’t care one way or the other about how we think we ought to live. There may be intersubjective agreement on the value of the rule of law, but because of the naturalistic fallacy, that agreement doesn’t make the rule of law objectively right. “Objective rightness” is an oxymoron. We may agree because of our hardwiring, as you say, but if the rightness of the rule of law should somehow mind-independently match up with our genetic inclinations, that could only be a bizarre accident.

I agree that the rule of law makes for happier, more fulfilled citizens, just as the conventions of street signs and stoplights make for fewer car accidents. So we can say, as a matter of instrumental rationality, that the rule of law has the objective effect of increasing happiness. That means the rule of law is objectively right only relative to some such goal. But is the goal of increasing happiness objectively or absolutely right? I happen not to think so, not in the context of nature as scientists have discovered it to be. So I’d agree that an instrumental relationship can be objective, but not that a categorical value is mind-independent and thus something other than fictional (i.e. something other than made up as a human creation, which can be more or less useful for various purposes).
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Ben Cain on May 22nd, 2017, 1:48 pm 

Paul Anthony and Braininvat,
Regarding whether a political constitution should be subject to change by mass movements (democracy) or by elite opinion (Supreme Court interpretation), the prior question is whether we’re talking about the values embedded in the Constitution or about the use of the Constitution to achieve some objective. Majority opinion may not be the best means of deciding on the latter, since it’s an empirical question whether a law achieves a certain effect, and the majority tends to be less rational than a certain minority of cognitive elites. So if we presuppose certain values, as the American Declaration of Independence does when it speaks of “self-evident” rights, of values granted by the Creator, and of other such nonsense, and we’re interested only in whether certain laws are in line with such values, it might indeed be wise to leave those answers up to a knowledgeable minority.

But if we no longer share the founders’ values, because centuries have past and the cultures are almost wholly different, thanks to radical technological transformations, scientific discoveries, world-transforming events, and so forth, it’s much less obvious that the Constitution should be altered once again only by a minority. This is because the rightness or wrongness of values is, as I’ve been saying here, a matter of something like aesthetic taste. The world doesn’t tell us how we ought to live, because nature doesn’t care; it kills us all just the same, regardless of what we do. We decide how we ought to live, because we’re free to make it all up. So should the taste of the old people who tend to be Supreme Court judges dictate to the majority what their ultimate values should be? I think not. Then again, the majority’s taste in a way of life will likely be as mediocre as its rationality. But that’s the price paid for belonging to a civilization: we’re condemned to live with millions of strangers and thus we must tolerate the lowering of standards.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on May 22nd, 2017, 2:12 pm 

Ben Cain » Mon May 22, 2017 10:48 am wrote:
But if we no longer share the founders’ values, because centuries have past and the cultures are almost wholly different, thanks to radical technological transformations, scientific discoveries, world-transforming events, and so forth, it’s much less obvious that the Constitution should be altered once again only by a minority. This is because the rightness or wrongness of values is, as I’ve been saying here, a matter of something like aesthetic taste. The world doesn’t tell us how we ought to live, because nature doesn’t care; it kills us all just the same, regardless of what we do. We decide how we ought to live, because we’re free to make it all up. So should the taste of the old people who tend to be Supreme Court judges dictate to the majority what their ultimate values should be? I think not. Then again, the majority’s taste in a way of life will likely be as mediocre as its rationality. But that’s the price paid for belonging to a civilization: we’re condemned to live with millions of strangers and thus we must tolerate the lowering of standards.


All things must change to some degree. The alternative is stagnation. But, before a change can produce improvement there must be an understanding of what the old way means. Most Americans alive today may think they don't "share the founders' values" but that may be because they don't understand them. As Braininvat suggested, living in a relative democracy may make us blind to the alternatives.

The founders created a document that challenged the status quo. Whereas all authority had rested in the hands of the monarchy, they dared to claim that individuals had rights - not merely privileges granted by authorities. I don't think people would disagree with that "value". Quite the contrary, we have seen the recent claim to rights that didn't exist before - the right to free health care, for instance. What people don't seem to recognize is that they are not expressing a right, but demanding a privilege to be granted by government if government is expected to pay for the "free" health care.

Likewise, with the demand that gays be allowed to marry, people are not expressing a right. If it were a right, no permission would be required. By demanding approval of the government, people are requesting that a privilege be granted.

By failing to understand the values expressed in the Constitution, the majority risks losing the benefits bestowed by it.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on May 22nd, 2017, 8:04 pm 

Ben
That bit of pragmatism returns us to the original functions of reason, which were that reason enabled us to survive in a harsh environment and to navigate society in a Machiavellian manner. Reason didn’t evolve for us to discover the truth. It’s just as possible that delusions (e.g. anthropocentrism, theism, etc.) are useful for our survival and our happiness.

Are you teaching us by writing statements as above? It would be nice if you could qualify your sources. For example, some respected scientists (such as Dawkins) have pointed out how a nervous system simply helps organisms to become more intelligent in their harvesting of resources, to the point that humans can model and remember the faces and limbs of fellow humans in their 'minds eye'. These models can be so convincing that they replace reality - the economic energetic truth - and so the human lives through memes rather than raw sensations of the true energetic world. Maybe reason evolved so that the humans who discovered what I have just reasoned about can become more practical in their energy harvesting - more efficient/wise - than their memetically-deluded peers? Thus, the truth becomes that which undermines memes - the true economic energetic reality underlying our physical existence. It appears straightforward enough, as Marx pointed out, that he who is the least 'sedated' by memes - the "opium of the masses", becomes the most economically advantaged.

In any case, I don’t commit the fallacies, because I don’t presuppose objective truth in the sense of correspondence.

Thanks for your valueless correspondence thus far then, haha!
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on May 22nd, 2017, 8:23 pm 

Paul Anthony » May 23rd, 2017, 1:14 am wrote:
Mossling » Sun May 21, 2017 11:15 pm wrote:

Not obsessed, just following this gripping non-fiction story involving an assault on the truth as it unfolds. I find it incredibly strange how you so easily dismiss Flynn and Sessions concealing their Russian dealings while under oath, and Trump firing Yates and Comey in Russian probe-related incidents.


Except it's not non-fiction.

I'm able to remember what transpired more than just a few days ago. For instance, I remember during the 2012 election Obama ridiculed Romney for claiming Russia was our enemy. I also remember the "hot mic" incident during that same campaign when Obama thought the mic was off and told Putin he would be able to negotiate more freely after the election.

In the eyes of the Democratic Party, the Russians weren't our enemy until Hillary lost the election. Russia was just one of the excuses given for her failure (another was Comey, who the Democrats now support after Trump fired him).

But the Russia thing proved to be more valuable as a means to discredit the Trump administration, so the saga grows. Just as Comey was bad until Trump said he was bad. Now he's a hero.

Political theater is fiction. Enjoy the show, but don't take it seriously.

Not non-fiction? Please provide your proof/sources.

There was apparently nothing on the level of the following chain of events:
Obama warning Trump about Flynn, Yates warning Trump about Flynn, WH knowing about Flynn's illegal work in Turkey but still hiring him as National Security Advisor, WH firing Yates over Flynn warning, WH not firing Flynn until newspapers published info many weeks after WH was warned.

And since Flynn has been heavily involved with the Russians - way more than Obama, then in the light of an intelligence dossier provided by respected British intelligence sources detailing a lot of bad stuff linking Trump campaign to Russian subversion, then it seems pretty straightforward what's going on - beyond party politics. Nevertheless, WH fired Comey for doing his job.

Trump knowingly awarded a criminal the role of NSA and then fired anyone who challenged that - a criminal with much closer ties to Russia than Obama ever had.

I think both US parties are likely equally corrupt, my 'party' is the Socratic Truth here. You are the one apparently wanting to make all of this partisan - perhaps so that you can bypass the Truth just like Trump does?

Again, I would be interested to know whether you think there is an equal moral and political footing between America and Russia - in way that Trump suggests? You seem to be still dodging this one.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on May 22nd, 2017, 9:31 pm 

Mossling » Mon May 22, 2017 5:23 pm wrote:

Not non-fiction? Please provide your proof/sources.


There has been no proof - from any sources - that Trump and Putin conspired to ensure Trump won the election. Lots of innuendo, but no proof.

Every successful lie contains a kernel of truth. That's what makes a lie believable. IMO, the truth is Russia attempted to sabotage Clinton's chances of winning the election. That truth does not mean Trump or his campaign staff was complicit, even though Trump benefited from Russia's actions. Trying to blame Trump is the lie.

Putin claimed the US meddled in his last election while Clinton was Secretary of State. He made his feelings clear a long time ago. Although the effort, if there really was one, failed (since Putin was re-elected) he does seem like the type of person who would hold a grudge. Putin hates Clinton. That is another fact. Because of that fact, Putin would not need any prodding from the Trump campaign to persuade him to sabotage Clinton.

Trying to make Trump the brains behind the act is laughable. (I don't think he's smart enough).

Putin did what he did because he hates Clinton. Pay-back's a bitch. Trying to pin the blame on Trump is a blatant attempt to undermine the current administration and remove Trump from office. THAT is a greater threat to democracy than what Putin did.

Mossling wrote: Again, I would be interested to know whether you think there is an equal moral and political footing between America and Russia - in way that Trump suggests? You seem to be still dodging this one.


Hard to say. I don't have any trouble believing Putin meddled in our election, just as I have no trouble believing the US has meddled in the elections of several foreign sovereign states, including possibly Russia's. It seems to be what modern empires (and wannabe empires) do. In that sense, we are no better than Russia.

Unless you are referring to the way Russia treats gays. I consider that less of a moral issue than a cultural one. Morality is defined by cultures. There are certainly many countries whose treatment of gays is much harsher than that of Russia. It wasn't that long ago that we gave them few if any rights, so now that we do, does that make up for the past? Have we suddenly earned the moral high ground? We abolished slavery later than many other nations did. Do we win moral points for getting around to it eventually?
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Lomax on May 22nd, 2017, 9:45 pm 

Paul Anthony » May 23rd, 2017, 2:31 am wrote:We abolished slavery later than many other nations did. Do we win moral points for getting around to it eventually?

As Winston Churchill said: America always does the right thing, after it's tried everything else.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on May 23rd, 2017, 1:17 am 

Paul Anthony » May 23rd, 2017, 10:31 am wrote:
Mossling » Mon May 22, 2017 5:23 pm wrote:

Not non-fiction? Please provide your proof/sources.


There has been no proof - from any sources - that Trump and Putin conspired to ensure Trump won the election. Lots of innuendo, but no proof.

That's not what I was referencing the non-fiction to. I don't think anyone on this thread has made the conclusion that you refer to.

Mossling wrote: Again, I would be interested to know whether you think there is an equal moral and political footing between America and Russia - in way that Trump suggests? You seem to be still dodging this one.


Hard to say. I don't have any trouble believing Putin meddled in our election, just as I have no trouble believing the US has meddled in the elections of several foreign sovereign states, including possibly Russia's. It seems to be what modern empires (and wannabe empires) do. In that sense, we are no better than Russia.

Unless you are referring to the way Russia treats gays. I consider that less of a moral issue than a cultural one. Morality is defined by cultures. There are certainly many countries whose treatment of gays is much harsher than that of Russia. It wasn't that long ago that we gave them few if any rights, so now that we do, does that make up for the past? Have we suddenly earned the moral high ground? We abolished slavery later than many other nations did. Do we win moral points for getting around to it eventually?

Thanks for your 'answer'. So you are more on Trump's side with "are Americans so innocent?". Interesting. It matches the Trump supporter Russian sympathies theory at least.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Paul Anthony on May 23rd, 2017, 1:22 am 

Mossling » Mon May 22, 2017 10:17 pm wrote:

Thanks for your 'answer'. So you are more on Trump's side with "are Americans so innocent?". Interesting. It matches the Trump supporter Russian sympathies theory at least.


That's your interpretation, and honestly it doesn't surprise me. You reached that conclusion before I posted my answer.

There's no point in talking with you. I'm done.
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Re: 'Post-Truth Politics' - Collapse in Information Integrit

Postby Mossling on May 23rd, 2017, 6:41 am 

Paul Anthony » May 23rd, 2017, 2:22 pm wrote:
Mossling » Mon May 22, 2017 10:17 pm wrote:

Thanks for your 'answer'. So you are more on Trump's side with "are Americans so innocent?". Interesting. It matches the Trump supporter Russian sympathies theory at least.


That's your interpretation, and honestly it doesn't surprise me. You reached that conclusion before I posted my answer.

There's no point in talking with you. I'm done.

Hey, don't be like that now. 'All's fair in love and war'. You've made your fair share of pre-judgments on this thread.
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